Defense wins championships, they say. If that’s the case, then the East Ascension Spartans must be happy with their opening game.

The Spartans used a stingy defense and a strong running game to beat visiting Northwest, 21-0 at home. The defense recorded two interceptions of Northwest quarterback John Jolivette. Junior linebacker Rionte Jones snagged an interception in the third quarter right after the Spartans fumbled on their first drive of the second half.

“Overall, our defense played well, but we had some costly penalties that kept some drives alive for them,” said coach Darnell Lee.

EA got early touchdowns from the ground game. Junior Kendall Washington gave the Spartans an early lead on an 8-yard rushing touchdown. Teammate Walter Samuel added a 5-yard touchdown that staked EA to a 14-0 halftime lead.

“Our running game will be led by a combo of Walter Samuel, Kendall Washington, Kael Babin and D’ivion Johnson. Those guys will help us sustain and finish drives,” said Coach Lee.

Washington had a long touchdown run of 54 yards and finished with 60 yards rushing. Samuel added 102 rushing yards and was on the receiving end of some nice passes.

Early in the season, it is not surprising that both teams made mistakes, turned the ball over and had several penalties. The Spartans return a big offensive line they will lean heavily on.

“Gavin Soniat is a leader on our offensive line, and they played well,” said Coach Lee.

It was clear that the defense would carry the Spartans on opening night, constantly putting pressure on Jolivette and the visiting Raiders. With a shortened season of eight regular season games due to the coronavirus, every game is important.

Winning is fun — doing it by shutting out your opponent is special. Each game is different, but the Spartans showed they are a team to watch in 2020.

Ascension Catholic 35, Slaughter Charter 6

Ascension Christian 35, Houma Christian 18

Donaldsonville 56, Broadmoor 6

East Ascension 21, Northwest 0

St Amant 35, Denham Springs 13

Dutchtown 35, Covington 21

Troy LeBoeuf covers sports for the Ascension Advocate. He can be reached at troyleboeuf@hotmail.com or ascension@theadvocate.com or on Twitter @Troyleboeuf.